Rickie Fowler produced a record-equalling low-scoring round to take a one-shot lead at the US Open on Thursday as the big-hitters failed to fire.
Two first-round triple bogeys did him in. It lets you be aggressive, you can get on runs where you can make birdies. It was a lot tougher with tricky pins, so I am pretty happy.
Overall, McIlroy hit 10 of 14 fairways but clearly it was his second shot that was the root cause. "To shoot a good round like today, I'm certainly looking forward to the weekend".
When asked why there is so little separation among the field, Holmes said: "It's so long".
"With some incredible golf the next couple of days, you can make up a significant amount a strokes", he said. Three more birdies on his inward nine took him to seven under and a piece of US Open history.
Friday wasn't almost as favorable for the world's three-top ranked players, none of whom will move onto the weekend. "You're going to make some bogeys in there, so it's really hard to get away from anybody".
Behind the leading quartet, a logjam grouped eight players within two shots of the lead.
"If you look at the golf course and you even talk to me, Jason or Rory, this course sets up flawless for us, " Johnson said.
"I couldn't get comfortable over the putter". Some of it nearly takes the bombers out of it.
Casey laid up in the rough on the par-5 14th hole. The top 18 players on the leaderboard going into the weekend have combined for zero majors.
"It always does that", he said. All four finished Friday's second round at 7-under-par 137 playing a course that prevented the world's three top-ranked players from moving on.
As for Day, he entered this week with a stellar track record at the U.S. Open - five top-10 finishes in six career starts.
McIlroy however, who is returning from a hip and back injury, put a courageous face on his second consecutive missed cut at a US Open following his exit at the halfway stage in 2016.
"I was teeing off and I looked up and saw it on fire, and I felt sick to my stomach", Jamie Lovemark said. I couldn't possibly shoot any higher than I did.
"This is an American links course and I've typically struggled with that style in the past". He still had his worst score in a U.S. Open.
McIlroy hasn't been too active during the 2017 season, but he has been successful when on the course.
McIlroy won the US Open with a record 16-under-par total in 2011, but was a combined 50 over par for his seven other appearances before this week and missed the cut at Oakmont past year following rounds of 77 and 71. Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Henrick Stenson, Bubba Watson and rising star Jon Rahm were also left out of the weekend.